27 workers killed on farms last year, new health & safety figures show

Agriculture is the most dangerous industry in the UK, with fatal injury rates far outstripping all other occupations. Workers in farming are 18 times more likely to die at work than the overall industry rate.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today released its annual figures for work-related fatalities, as well as the number of people known to have died from the asbestos-related cancer, mesothelioma, in 2015.

27 fatal injuries to agricultural workers were recorded.  It has the highest rate of fatal injury of all the main industry sectors, around 18 times as high as the all industry rate, said the HSE.

The figures show that agriculture is the most dangerous industry in the UK. Construction is the next most dangerous occupation, but it has rates of fatal injuries four times higher than the overall industry rate, a figure far lower than agriculture.

The new figures also highlight the risks to older workers – around a quarter of fatal injuries in 2016/17 were to workers aged 60 or over, even though such workers made up only around 10% of the workforce.

There were also 92 members of the public fatally injured in accidents connected to work in 2016/17. Almost half of these occurred on railways with the remainder occurring across a number of sectors including public services, entertainment and recreation.

HSE Chair Martin Temple said: “We deal daily with the causes and consequences of work-related deaths, injuries and ill health. Today’s updated figures continue to inform our understanding of which areas we need to target.”

“We concentrate our interventions where we know we can have the biggest impact. We hold dutyholders accountable for managing the risks they create in the workplace. This benefits workers, business performance, the economy and wider society alike.”

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